Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held on 9th December, 1974 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong. The Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair.

Present :- Five Ministers, two Ministers of State and thirty six Hon. Members.

CALLING ATTENTION

Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business by taking up item No. 1 Shri S. D. Khongwir is to call the attention of the Minister in charge of Supply.

Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Minister in charge of Supply is absent.

Mr. Speaker :- The Minister in charge is absent but the Government is always functioning under the principle of collective responsibility and it depends on the Chief Minister whether he will reply or he will advise one of his colleagues.

Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, because I have seen that they do not settle up. 

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : How do you see ?

Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, I have not received information on this matter and I would request the hon. Member through you, to kindly give time to reply to this call attention motion  tomorrow.

Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know whether the Minister in charge of Supply has returned from  Gauhati because we have seen in the newspaper that he has gone to Gauhati though he knows that the Session on.

Mr. Speaker :- It is really unfortunate that any members of the House, be he a Minister or any hon. Member to take more interest in some other thing than the interest of the house. I think the Chief Minister will take note in future than any of his colleagues should try to see that the business of the House is foremost. As a special case, I will allow that this call Attention Motion be taken tomorrow. I have not yet check tomorrow's business and even if there is any other call attention Motion tomorrow, I will allow both.

        Now let us take up item No.2 Minister in charge of finance. Before I call upon the Minister, Finance to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales-Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974, let me read the message from the Governor.


GOVERNMENT BILLS

"Camp : Imphal,

December 4, 1974.

        In the exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby recommended to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.

Sd/- LALLAN PRASAD SINGH"

        Now the Minister incharge Finance to introduce the Bill.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and I now put the question before the house, the question is that the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974 be introduced. (The Motion was put tot vote and carried). (The Secretary read the title of the Bill).

Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to Item No.3, the Minister Finance to beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Electricity Duty (Amendment) Bill, 1974.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Electricity Duty (Amendment) Bill, 1974.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and I now put the question before the House, the question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Electricity Duty (Amendment) Bill, 1974. (The  motion was put to vote and carried) (leave is granted). Before I call upon the Minister, Finance, to introduce the Bill let me read the message from the Governor.

Message

"Camp : Imphal,

December 4, 1974.

        In the exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby recommended to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.

Sd/- LALLAN PRASAD SINGH"

        Now the Minister, Finance will introduce the Bill.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and I now put the question before the House, the question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Electricity Duty (Amendment) Bill, 1974 be introduced.

        (The motion was put to vote and carried. The Secretary read the title of the Bill). Now let us pass on to item No.4... 

Mr. Speaker :- Item No. 4. Minister, Finance.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya (Sales of Petroleum and Petroleum Products, including Motor Spirit and Lubricants) Taxation (Amendment), Bills, 1974.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and I now put the question before the House, the question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya (Sales of Petroleum and Petroleum Products, including Motor Spirit and Lubricants) Taxation (Amendment), Bill, 1974.

        The motion is carried. Leave is granted.

        Before I call upon the Minister in charge of finance to introduce the Bill, let me read the message form the Governor.

"Camp : Imphal,

December 4, 1974.

        In the exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby recommended to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya (Sales of Petroleum and Petroleum Products, including Motor Spirit and Lubricants) Taxation (Amendment), Bill, 1974.

Sd/- LALLAN PRASAD SINGH".

        Now, I will call upon the Minister, Finance to introduce the Bill.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Sir, I beg  to introduce the Bill.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. the question is that the Meghalaya Sales of Petroleum Products including Motor Spirit and Lubricants) Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974 be introduced.

        The motion is carried. the Bill is introduced.

        (The Secretary read out the title of the Bill.


VOTING ON SUPPLEMENTARY DEMANDS FOR GRANTS

Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to item Number 5.

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to lay the Annual Report (1970-71) of the Mawmluh-Cherra Cements Limited.

Mr. Speaker :- Item Number 6. Discussion on the Supplementary Demands for Grants.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh (Pariong S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to suggest that we would like to have a general discussion prior to the cut motion on these supplementary demands.

Mr. Speaker :- Yes, you can have a general discussion on all the grants.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati (S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is of course customary, almost a convention whenever the Assembly meets, for the Government to come forward with supplementary demands. We have of course nothing to say about those demands where matters unforeseen turn up after the passing of the budget. As responsible members of this House we have to cooperate provided those particular demands or items are justified. But it seems difficult for us to understand why this government should come forward with certain grants which could have been included in the annual budget. (Mr. Speaker-For example ?). Now, for example, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Demand Number 4 is a demand for which an explanatory note has been  appended, and the explanatory note says" Due to introduction of revised accounting classification with effect from  1st April, 1974 the schemes costing below Rs. 1 lakh had to be provided under the Revenue head, i.e., "259-Public Works, etc." But due to late finalisation of the schematic annual plan and as the time factor was involved for finalisation of the Budget Grants and as such schemes (costing below Rs.1 lakh) could not be located by that time the amount required for expenditure on the schemes irrespective of the ultimate cost of each was provided under the capital head such and such." I will not belabor the patience of this House by reading out the entire explanatory note. There are two or three matters which I think do not justify the introduction of these demands at this stage. For example, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this House remembers that we could not pass the Annual Budget during march because the explanation given by the government was that the Government of India of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had introduced new methods of classification of accounts, and therefore this infant State had not grown familiar with such classification and needed more time to make out the Annual Budget. So we merely had the Vote on Account during the period when it should have been the Budget Session. Sir, we had a Budget Session several months later. I do not think the members of the Ruling party can deny that. Now we would have presumed that the officers who are in charge of formulating schemes should have been informed of the new system before the 1st April. Even in that case, since we are all new to this procedure and particularly as Government itself was still in its infancy we accorded them that privilege of preparing the Budget some months later and they did so. But then one would have thought that they would not abuse this extra privilege. In this explanation the same words were used that were used in March, that due to late finalisation of the schematic annual plan and also due tot he introduction of the revised accounting classification. That was the excuse. So the Vote on Account was introduced in the month of march . We would not expect now that the same excuse would be given after so many months had elapsed. Another demand, Number 7 has the same explanation. Here again they refer to the revised accounting classification. And then  again, this is made an explanation in Demand Number 11. The same words were used : "due to the introduction of the revised accounting classification on and due to the late finalisation of the schematic annual plain." Then once again in Demand Number 12, the same words are used :- "due to the introduction of the revised accounting classification and late finalisation of the schematic revised accounting classification and late finalisation of the schematic annual plan ". Further again, in Demand Number 13. There also the same words have been used. Mr. Speaker, Sir, so that we have altogether five separate Departments where the Planning of our State has miserably failed. This is the failure of the Planning Department.

Mr. Speaker :- But  by the principle of  "Live and let live." ............

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Yes, but I wonder whether they will still learn. We still wonder whether something similar would be proposed of the same nature in another Session !

Mr. Speaker :- If they are so perfect you should not have anything to say.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- We are thankful for their efficiency and ignorance. I hope Government realises the amount of money this Assembly has to spend for every extra day it sits and this demands a certain amount of time and each time this Assembly sits, we consume money. And this is not a State that can afford to waste money in having extra demands which could have been made during the Budget Session and this spending of  money will be a drain on the public exchequer. Of course motions will be there if the demands are not irrelevant or unjustified. We will certainly move out cut motions ; this is our privilege but we must point out that a;; these five demands are categorised by one factor, i.e. the laziness or inefficiency of the Government to bring these at the proper time, we could have saved a lot of time by having considered these matters earlier.

Mr. Speaker :- If there are certain points to be replied, I would request the Minister, Finance, to make a reply.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon'ble member is concerned with time which could have been saved by just passing these demands without discussion. Well, mistakes are naturally committed and the hon. member has just made a mistake by wrongly fixing the responsibility in this case, on Planning Department. It is not the Planning Department, but it is a Finance Department. However, it is a very minor technical matter which involves no financial implication at all. It is a question of transfer of certain amount from one head to another and these budget classifications are new and in spite of care and labour taken by the officers and staff of the Department we cannot expect that at one just in once time the the application of these budget heads will be perfect. But really this is of no consequence at all, and as I said, it is just a transfer of one amount from one head to another. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope that with the passing of time, I can assure the hon. Member, that the Department will gradually improve and will need not to correct or transfer amounts as now.

Mr. Speaker :- So the discussion on supplementary Demands for Grants and Supplementary Appropriation for 1974-75 is closed.

        Now, I have just received a note from the Minister in charge of Supply expressing his regret that due to technical defect of his watch he could not attend the Assembly in time. I request the hon. Members to come to the House 5 minutes ahead of time from now on. (Laughter).

        Now, Mr. Khongwir, will call the attention of the Minister, Supply under Rule 54.


CALLING ATTENTION

Shri S. D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, under Rule 54 of the Rules of procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly I beg to draw the attention of the Minister incharge of Supply to a news-item published in the "Assam Tribune" of November 28, 1974 under the caption "Meghalaya Government to undertake Paddy Procurement". I would request the hon'ble Minister to make a detailed statement on this experiment.

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the food situation  all over India has become very difficult as a result of droughts and floods in certain areas. To meet emergencies arising out of these calamities, the Government of India have had to reduce the monthly allocation of food grains, especially rice, from the Central Pool. Consequently the monthly quota of rice allocated to Meghalaya was reduced from 4000 M. Tonnes from September 1974 and after shown below :

September

1974

...

...

...

2000 M

Tonnes

October

1974

...

...

...

2500

,,

November

1974

...

...

...

2500

,,

December

1974

...

...

...

3500

,,

        The reduction in the quota of rice has made the food situation in Meghalaya extremely difficult in the border areas of the State. As our production of food grains is below our requirement, we have to depend solely on the Central Pool allocation for rice to meet the requirement of the people. As government of India cannot restore the usual monthly allocation of rice to 400 M. Tonnes, Government has decide to take up paddy procurement in all surplus areas of the three districts of Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills to augment supply of rice and to enable the Government to meet the shortfall during the lean months.

        Procurement of paddy was made in Garo Hills on experimental basis last year and about 250 M. Tonnes of paddy was procured. This helped to case the critical food situation in the districts during the last floods.

        For the current kharif season 1974-75, Government have decided t procure whatever marketable surplus paddy is available in the surplus areas of the three districts, without allowing any scope for paddy going outside the State.

        The procurement is to be undertaken by Food Corporation of India through the Co-operative Marketing Societies as Sub-Agents or individual agents whoever are found suitable in consultation with the Deputy Commissioners concerned. the Sub-Agents thus appointed will be required to abide by the terms and conditions laid down by Food Corporation of India.

        The target of procurement is fixed at 3,000 M. Tonnes of paddy/rice to be procured from the following three districts of Meghalaya :

1.

Khasi Hills

...

200 M. Tonnes

-Bhoi area and any other indicated by Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills.

2.

Garo Hills

...

23,000 M. Tonnes

-(1) Garobadha,

  (2) Ampathi,

  (3) Mendipathar,

  (4) Tikrikilla, 

  (5) Sibbari,

  (6) Rajabala (Shayamnagar)

  (7) Dalu,

  (8) Baghmara,

  (9) Bajengdoba.

3

Jaintia Hills

...

500 M. Tonnes

-Nartiang Nongbah, Shangpung and any other areas indicated by the Deputy Commissioner, Jaintia Hills.

        To make procurement successful and for cordoning the flow of food-stuff outside the State, Congress are being installed in all important points of the three districts. The Deputy Commissioners have proposed to install check gates, at the following points excluding the existing check gates which were installed for checking of smuggling:

Khasi Hills-

(1) Jagiroad,

(2) Palasbari,

(3) Nongstoin and 

(4) Markasa.

Garo Hills-

(1) Katuli

(2) Bo damgiri,

(3) Haldiganj and

(4) Haringhata.

Jaintia Hills-

(1) Khainduli,

(2) Garompani and 

(3) Ratacherra.

        Staff required for enforcement of the scheme are being appointed. the procurement prices of paddy are fixed by the Government of India which have been accepted by Assam. Procurement prices of Meghalaya will be the same as in the adjoining Districts of Goalpara, Kamrup, Nowgong and Cachar, etc., which are as follows :

Variety

Price per quintal for naked Grain

A.

-Shortfall Bold Paddy (Grade I)

...

...

...

...

74.00

B.

-I R. 8 Paddy 

...

...

...

...

74.00

C.

-Medium slender Paddy (Lahi Paddy).

77.87

Shri M. Narayan Majaw :- on a point of clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we have the rates for procurement quoted by the Minister in his statement for 1974-75 for paddy so that we my know whether the rates are higher or lower.

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, until I get the rates in the open market from the department concerned I cannot say whether the rates are lower or higher. We are expected to accept the rates fixed by the Government of India.

Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know when the operation will start, the operation of procurement.

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :-  Immediately.

Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Have we sent any intimation to the people concerned like the farmers, the agriculturists about this also ? 

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :- In the statement it is stated that the Deputy Commissioners were instructed to consult the local leaders and ........

Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Has this operation started ?

Mr. Speaker :- He has already stated that it will start immediately.

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :-  It is in the process in certain areas of the State.

Shri M. Narayan Majaw :- We want definite information from the Minister at least in this District. May we have a categorical statement from the Minister whether it has started ?

Mr. Speaker :- The Minister has already stated that it is under process but now you have come with a specific question whether procurement inn Khasi Hills District has started or not.

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, the decision was taken sometime back. Orders have been issued in the past for procurement of paddy in the field and officers should have been posted there but I have not yet been given the report whether the actual procurement campaign has started or not. 

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of clarification, may we know who is the administrative or executive controller over  the F.C.I. whether the Central or the State Government ? I asked this because I want to know whether the procured paddy would remain in the State or in the District. Suppose an order comes from the Centre that there is shortage in the State .......

Mr. Speaker :- I think you should not stretch your arms to that extent. this is a calling attention notice on that particular item.

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- The Minister may have in his wisdom, some information on this.

Mr. Speaker :- In any case though it come as your superstition, it came also in the form of suggestion that the State Government will try to see that it will have some control over the procurement of paddy by the F.C.I. 

Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can categorically say that this paddy will remain in the State. There is no question of it going outside the State. 

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Whether the Government consider this as a suggestion.

Mr. Speaker :- in any case, the purpose of the Calling Attention is not meant for cross examination of the Minister. So I think it is better to close the subject. The Hon'ble Minister has made a statement on news item appearing in "Assam Tribune" as called upon by the hon. member.


ADJOURNMENT

        As there is no other business for the day, the House stands adjourned till 9 A.M. on Tuesday, the 10th December, 1974.

R.T. RYMBAI,

Dated Shillong :

Secretary,

the 9th December, 1974.

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.